|Micro-level drivers

North Macedonia – Country Paper on Micro-Level Drivers

20 May 2024

This analysis is based on the research of the perceptions of young people in the Republic of North Macedonia (RNM) regarding violent extremism and radicalisation at a micro level. The purpose of the analysis is to show how young people perceive violent extremism based on seven already established drivers: religion, transnational dynamics, territorial inequalities, free time and cultural opportunities, politics, digitalization and economic factors. Young people are one of the most important groups in any society and vital part of the modern-day democracies. Although there is no universally accepted definition of the term youth, we proceed with the North Macedonia’s legal definition of youth as a category of population aged 15-29 years.

Recognising the importance and role of youth in future democratic development, this analysis is a quantitative continuation of the qualitative studies produced by the Macedonian CONNEKT project team in the past years. All those studies postulate that the contemporary challenges of violent extremism and radicalisation are complex, multifaceted and multi-layered, hence only such interdisciplinary and mixed methods research might be able to provide certain answers for the micro-level developments and future guidelines. Young people’s responses to questions about their perceptions of violence in the past and present can be used to assess their attitudes toward violence and whether they recognize prevention policies, as well as how they are developed and implemented.

Today, we are confronted with violence stemming from the structures of non-democratic societies and their institutions, as well as other forms of direct, cultural and structural violence (Freedom House, 2023; Global Peace Index, 2020).2 However, we should avoid the pitfalls of failed policies that rely on one-sided responses and exclusive use of force for the solution. As various forms of violence and their consequences multiply and societies are often not resistant or prepared to cope with the changes, the need for preventive, hybrid peace policies becomes imperative.

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